Beware: Airbnb Price Scam for Long-Term Stays

Beware: if you adjust your Airbnb reservation during your stay, Airbnb will apply the current (i.e. the most expensive) price retroactively to the beginning of your stay. For example, let’s say you make a reservation for $100/night for four weeks. After the second week, you need to leave early and you and the host agree to do this. But the pricing model (if it’s dynamic pricing – which is chosen by the host) shows the rate to now be $150/night. Airbnb will charge you $150/night for your entire stay. I recently had this experience and was overcharged $400 – and Airbnb does not give a damn about it. On top of this, Airbnb will charge you for an extra 30 days because of their long-term cancellation policy – which Airbnb will waive if you and the host insist on it. Airbnb also removed my negative review of the host, stating it violated their policy – even though I spoke honestly about the nightmare I experienced.

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Airbnb Charged my PayPal Account for a Fake Reservation

Late last night I had a notification from PayPal saying I had been charged £450 for an Airbnb. I looked at my emails and had three emails that stated:

1. Confirming a reservation I had never made
2. My receipt from PayPal
3. Airbnb confirming the reservation had been cancelled and due to the host’s policy I wasn’t eligible for a refund.

Airbnb said to use the resolution centre for extenuating circumstances (which was impossible as my account was later cancelled). In the next 2-3 minutes I was also sent a billing receipt email from Airbnb, an email asking for payment verification details, and then finally an email saying my account had been cancelled (in which it implies it wasn’t cancelled by Airbnb, but rather, had been cancelled by the ‘user’).

At this point, any attempts to log into my account failed (as it was cancelled) which means I had no way to access my account details, or to access the resolution centre previously mentioned, and no way to contact customer service since every help or “contact us” page seems to just link to a “log in for help” button. I am astounded at this – surely if you have a cancelled account you should have the means to be able to contact Airbnb to resolve problems? Apparently not.

I then had to Google a contact number for Airbnb. Why they couldn’t have just put that in their emails is anyone’s guess. I called customer service. There was no answer at all; I was on hold for 30 minutes. I then sent a Twitter message to Airbnb help, advising them of the problem. They didn’t reply until four hours later, and even then, only to ask for my email address. It has now been 12 hours since I messaged them and the only progress made is just messages from them asking for my account information or reservation information – no real action, no offer to call me, no information on a phone number I can call for more help, and certainly not sorting out the issue fast enough given the amount of money involved.

I spoke to my bank who said that I need to go via PayPal first, and if they don’t refund the money then I could come back to the bank who would then try to help. I raised a dispute via PayPal last night, and this morning called their limitations team to ask for more information and to get a fast resolution as it was a lot of money. To be fair to PayPal, the customer service agent was very helpful and was able to confirm during the call that my case was closed in my favour. They have now refunded the full amount back to my account.

It turns out that Airbnb was able to charge my PayPal account because they were set up as a subscription on PayPal for automatic payments, something I was not aware of and something not made especially clear on their website. Given that someone else had a very similar problem only three days ago this is obviously not a one-off instance. Someone is accessing accounts without permission – both guests and hosts – in order to steal money. Something needs to be done about this, as it is fraud.

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The Charming Country Home Was Anything But

As we are traveling throughout France on a work assignment trying to determine where the best location is to live permanently I thought it would be best to use Airbnb. The first three weeks we spent in Colmar, France. Everyone should do their due diligence before signing up with Airbnb to check and see if they can find the same rental through a rental agency. We could have saved 20% had we done so. A property listed as “The Charming Country Home” in Viarmes, France is my horror story.

We had reserved the property for ten days. From the pictures, it looked to be a lovely place to stay. My husband was called to work down in the southern part of France very unexpectedly and we were unable to keep our reservation. Mind you, when we booked this place seven days before, this owner had no other reservations showing on her calendar. When we cancelled, she started a long dialogue on how she had to turn away people on both weekends and that she had a lost revenue of $600. Long story short, after many emails back and forth, she refunded approximately $450 of our $1009 payment.

The company my husband works for is not picking up the difference. We must suck this up. She claims that she has a strict policy for cancellations and her beloved Airbnb supports her on that policy. I understood that I would not get the fee back for the exchange from Airbnb and I was willing to pay the cleaning fee, however, not half of my money. How someone in good conscience can keep almost $550 of our money is beyond me.

We decided to take a drive to see this “Beautiful Country Home” in Viarmes for ourselves after work finished up down in Southern France. It was fortunate we didn’t stay there. Viarmes is a very depressed, dirty town that looks like it never recovered from World War II. The entrance to her charming place is decrepit, run down, rotted and disgusting. The owner conveniently lives in the south of France and isn’t around to greet you. She arranged with a neighbor to bring guests the key.

I have written to Airbnb several times to complain and have been ignored. I would like to send them pictures of the other side of the story. They need to screen these places better. This was highway robbery and I’m feeling very taken. Unless we are compensated this will be the last time we ever consider using Airbnb. I will stay in a hotel before I consider this organization.

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How Long do Refunds Take after Cancellations?

I made a reservation through Airbnb for this coming August to Iceland. We paid half of the bill for $905, and the following morning I received a text from the host informing me her place was already booked and she apparently did not block it properly. I immediately called Airbnb, explained the situation and told them to cancel it and not process my deposit. The host also called them and explained what happened. Later in the day I called again as my deposit was still pending and I had not heard back from them. Of course I got another person, said she saw the comments and it would certainly be resolved. This morning I checked my checking account and, voila, they processed it. I called again and got another person who resolved it in five minutes. She said all she had to do there on their end was cancel it. Now why couldn’t they do that yesterday? Now, as we are a retired couple, we have to hold back on a few payments until the refund hits our bank, and that may take up to fifteen business days. There is absolutely no way to email a complaint to the main office.

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Double Listing Leads to Trouble Cancelling Airbnb

I can’t make this story colorful because it simply is not. I hope it helps others. I went to see an Airbnb before moving in as it was for a long-term stay. I found the lift out of order (other inhabitants were complaining about it as it was an antique and probably not up to current standards). I was able to climb the four high floors (I have a respiratory ailment) and found the current guest, who let me in. I did not ask to see the room but the rest of the place convinced me I didn’t want to climb all those stairs on a twice daily basis for a long stay in that place.

When I tried to cancel, I learned that the host had put up two different ads for the same room – with two different cancellation policies. Airbnb in that country – Italy – does not seem to check the validity of the ads. Also, the exact geographical location was not revealed until the full payment was processed and the exact address was not provided until I asked for it, the day before departure for Italy.

I finally got reimbursement, but not before filing a complaint with the European Commission for Consumer Fraud online. Airbnb Italy kept phoning me during my work time to try and stall on payment of the reimbursement. Once you give them your phone number, ostensibly for contact with the host, they keep it, and use it. I was ready to go to the police for telephone harassment. Only Airbnb Ireland could finally solve the problem. Never again. Use professionals who are inspected and fiscally in line.

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Careful Booking Close to International Borders

I was trying to book a weekend getaway with my husband, sister and brother in law to celebrate our anniversaries. I was looking in Niagara, NY but somehow the site was showing me places in Canada too. I did not realize this.

I found a place that looked great for the price we could afford, and the address said Buffalo, NY. I booked it and as soon as I did it the confirmation said Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. Since none of us had our passports current I cancelled it immediately (about two minutes had gone by since I booked and cancelled). Airbnb refunded me $350 of the cost and the host was supposed to refund me the remaining $200.

You have to put a request in for the money so I did and contacted the host. I messaged her explaining what had happened and she told me she had already made plans to go away for that weekend (apparently in the two minutes it took me to cancel) so she couldn’t possibly refund me my money. She said her strict policy on cancellations allowed her to do this. I had already read that policy and it said I had a 48-hour grace period to get my money back as long as it was at least 14 days before the booked date. It was in fact 30 days before the reservation date.

I messaged her several times explaining to her that if the money was not refunded we could no longer take our trip which we had been saving for, not to mention the hassel of getting the kids and animals looked after we were gone. She kept citing the policy, but ignored the part about the 48-hour grace period when I would remind her. Then she stopped returning my messages on the app.

I contacted Airbnb directly, explained the situation, and they refunded me. This is not a complaint about them except for the fact that they were showing me properties in Canada when I was looking in New York.

 

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Airbnb Cancels a Long-Term Booking without Consulting Hosts

About a month ago I had a 31-night reservation that was cancelled without consulting us after 48 hours of checking in. Our guests wanted to leave the place after they spotted two cockroaches in the kitchen in the middle of the night. Our house is located in Bondi Beach, Australia, where cockroaches are simply everywhere in the summer, with temperatures rising up to 40 degrees, especially when guests leave the windows and doors open or food exposed.

Our property was listed with a strict cancelation policy which states that we don’t offer refunds if the guest chooses to cancel. Airbnb cancelled on our behalf without consulting us prior; even though we only have 5-star reviews from all other guests. Since then, apparently, we owe Airbnb for 29 nights, so almost $20,000.

When receiving this booking request four months ago, we decided to go for a long holidays with our kids during the rental, based on the money that we were supposed to receive from Airbnb. In short, we owe 20K to Airbnb and had to pay for our holidays. Usually, Airbnb gives the hosts 24 hours to fix the issue. In our case, Airbnb cancelled our 31-night strict cancelation policy reservation without approval from us or even trying to find a solution, which seems extremely wrong.

Looking into the Extenuating Circumstances policy established by Airbnb, it states that deaths, illness, injury to the guests, and natural disasters are the reasons why Airbnb would be able to cancel a reservation without the host’s approval. The reasons why this was cancelled does not fall into this scenario at all. Finally, completely to the contrary, Airbnb did not publish the bad review left by the guest. Airbnb didn’t agree with the review, but agreed with the guest to cancel the booking. Our lawyer is now on the case. If you have any advice or tips, please share.

Airbnb Almost Homeless in San Juan

My initial correspondence with an Airbnb host was early in November when I made a reservation for 12/22-12/23. Her last remark to me was that I would hear from her closer to the check in date with the information I would need.

Fast forward to 12/20. I had still not heard from her. I sent two emails through the Airbnb website. No response. On the evening of 12/21, I called her, having a feeling of panic that I would not have a place to stay upon my arrival the next day. I was able to get in touch with her and she assured me that there was nothing to worry about. She also said I needed to install the app so that she could send me all the information I needed. I immediately followed her advice. There was still no message from her.

While sitting in the airport on 12/22 on my way to San Juan, my expected arrival date, I sent her two messages through Whatsapp. No response to either one. I called her through Whatsapp. No response. My plane was now getting ready to take off and as far as I was concerned when I landed, I would have no place to stay. I tried calling her multiple times and no response. Finally at 7:37 PM on 12/22 she responded: “Tomorrow I’ll be in the property waiting for you. Check in time is 3:00 PM.”

It was nice to finally have a response, but I was supposed to check in that night. When I arrived in San Juan at 2:00 AM, I tried calling four times until she finally picked up. It was at this time that she gave me an attitude that she was sleeping and there was no way she would be able to meet me at the unit. My reservation was for this evening and I previously explained to her that I would get in very late at night, so I am not sure why I received an attitude. I then requested that she cancel my reservation so that I would have my money refunded. She told me that she was sleeping and couldn’t do that; I needed to cancel the reservation. This worried me because of the cancellation policy of 24 hours.

I went on my vacation for ten nights and came back to an email from Airbnb that my money was in fact refunded. I do not recommend you choose to stay at a place where the host clearly has no regard for her tenants. This is unfortunate as it was my first time trying Airbnb. I will be very hesitant to use this service in the future.

Airbnb has no Standards for Hosts and their Homes

This was my second time going through a dirty Airbnb experience. I guess one time wasn’t enough for me to learn the lesson. In the heat of the moment I have decided to go to Honolulu for quick getaway. I was on a budget and decided to go with Airbnb instead of a hotel. I had booked a condo that got my attention with its very colorful wall paintings and warm atmosphere (how far that was from the truth).

Upon arriving, I first noticed that the place had nothing to do with the pictures. The colorful wall was gone; it looked very empty and out of order. That turned on my warning signs. It didn’t take too long for me to spot the filth in the place: cabinets, walls, mirrors, windows… you name it. The only thing I could say that truly felt clean were the bed sheets. I am a very clean and detail oriented person and very sensitive to dirty environments.

However, that was not the end. The place felt like someone donated already “used to the limits” stuff and placed it in there for the guests, including towels, pans, and furniture. The wallpaper was coming off and the toilet was scratched and stained indicating the long years of use.

I contacted the host and he did agree to refund the money. The problem was that I didn’t know the rules and the process of getting a refund. I filed a complaint with Airbnb, attaching pictures. The next day I got a notification that the host was refunding my money. So I was very satisfied, and moved on with my vacation.

The day after that I saw there was a message from Airbnb. I opened it and noticed that I had to accept the refund. So I pressed the button, and because it was one day too late they couldn’t process the refund. I called Airbnb and they said they had not received any complaint from me (I am very sure they did but had a reason to pretend not to), and promised to fix the refund.

They halfway did: instead of $300 I got $178 out of the $502 I originally paid. I am not that mad with happened to the money but mostly that those stressful situations even occur. There is a lack of competence on the part of Airbnb in any apartment’s quality control. There is a 50/50 chance you will come a across great place or hellish crib. It is messing up our vacations and plans we make. We lose money and get more stressed than relaxed.

It looks as if everyone who has an empty corner in their house think he/she can be a host. The truth is to be a host is a bit more difficult than just putting a blanket on a mattress. It involves time and dedication. I personally believe that we should not put the total blame on the hosts but mostly on Airbnb for not putting any restrictions and control on the hosts to follow and to apply in their apartments.

Valid Cancellations Don’t Mean Instant Refunds

Yesterday I booked a condo in South Padre Island and got a message from Airbnb to call a number. I called the number and it was the property management guy. He told me that Airbnb did not charge me for the cleaning fee and that I needed to pay him for that. Well then, I see that they charged me $100 per night and the host told me he would charge $90 a night. Then I realized Airbnb had overcharged me by about $150. The property management guy told me to cancel my reservation through Airbnb and then rebook through him. Well it was within thirty minutes that I cancelled my reservation and then had to contact Airbnb to get my full refund back. They authorized the refund but now it can take up to 15 days before I get it. This is such BS since the cancellation policy stated I had 24 hours and I cancelled within thirty minutes. Does anyone know who I can contact to get my refund ASAP?